From Adetutu Folasade-Koyi, Abuja
Before 2019, Kaduna had no statutory ministry to coordinate internal security matters as they may arise in the state.
Less than a month after he was sworn in for a second term, in June 2019, Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai created the Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, with his former media aide, Samuel Aruwan, taking charge.
The ministry’s mandate was to, among others, address rising cases of banditry, kidnapping and armed attacks in the state. The ministry also had the mandate to coordinate internal security matters and liaise with security agencies in the state.
Aruwan’s ministry was also expected to enhance the state government’s capacity to address security challenges, as they may arise, or even nip them in the bud, as well as supervise the activities of parastatals and agencies performing home affairs functions.
And so, on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, it was a novel development when the commissioner presented a Security Report in Kaduna State for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2020.
It was as novel as it was revealing, since Aruwan’s report detailed the state’s internal security affairs, including banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling, attacks and reprisals across the three senatorial districts of the state.
At the report presentation, although el-Rufai paid tributes to victims of insecurity in the state and reiterated his administration’s resolve to continue to protect the people, he vowed never to grant amnesty to bandits and kidnappers.
At the event, Aruwan noted that the security report contained “actual statistics of fatalities resulting from these incidences, excluding deaths from homicide and accidents not connected to the crimes hitherto listed.”
The Kaduna security report was as revealing as it was shocking. Hitherto, reports had indicated that much of the criminality in the state was perpetrated in Southern Kaduna but Aruwan’s report indicated otherwise.
The Aruwan report, however, revealed the humongous damage done as no local government was immune from the scourge of banditry and its spiraling effects.
The report showed that Kaduna Central bore the brunt of criminal activities in the state in the year under review (2020).
Last year alone, 617 people were killed, while 1,561 were kidnapped and 5,614 animals were rustled in the senatorial district, which were high figures juxtaposed with Kaduna South, where 286 people were killed and 317 kidnapped and 1,168 animals were rustled.
Going by the statistics provided by the ministry’s security report, 34 people were killed in Kaduna North while 94 people were kid≤≥napped and 413 animals were rustled in 2020.
In Igabi Local Government (Kaduna Central), for instance, 152 people were killed, while 411 were kidnapped and 1,536 animals rustled.
The report also indicated that 122 people died and 519 others were kidnapped, with 1,106 cattle rustled in Birni Gwari council, still in Kaduna Central senatorial district.
A further breakdown of the report indicated that, “in Zangon Kataf Local Government (Kaduna South), 144 people died, five kidnapped and 11 animals rustled. In Chikun, 120 people died, 320 kidnapped and 806 animals rustled.
“In Giwa Local Government, 74 people were killed, 211 kidnapped and 2,109 animals rustled.”
The report added: “Kajuru recorded 144 deaths, 98 kidnapped victims, with 57 cattle stolen. Kachia (Kaduna South) had 57 fatalities, 245 persons kidnapped and 924 cattle rounded up and stolen.
“Jema’a (Kaduna South) had 30 deaths, 19 kidnapped victims, while 60 cattle rustled. In Kaura, for instance, 28 persons were killed, five whisked away and 88 cattle stolen. Kagarko, Sanga (both in Kaduna South) and Lere (Kaduna North) recorded 14 rustled cattle, nine killed and one kidnapped, respectively.
“Additionally, Soba, Kubau and Ikara had seven, five, four dead persons, two, six and one persons were kidnapped with no goat or cow stolen. But, in Sabon Gari, Kaduna North and Zaria, four, three and two persons were killed, while six, one and 12 were kidnapped, but 240 cattle stolen.
“The same incident happened in Jaba (Kaduna South), Makarfi and Kudan (both in Kaduna North), where over a total seven persons were killed and eight others kidnapped, respectively.”
A compilation of the figures showed that 937 people died in the three senatorial districts of the state while 1,972 were kidnapped and 7,195 animals rustled in one year.
This statistics should, ordinarily, send shivers down the spine of of any investor in any state.
The transparency of the report was attested to by the Agwatyap, Sir Dominc Yahaya, who has been in the forefront of peaceful coexistence.
Already, in January, the Atyap, Fulani and Hausa communities in Zangon-Kataf LGA held a successful peace and reconciliation summit for peaceful coexistence in the area.
Presenting the report, Aruwan claimed that Kaduna was not the only state in the country rattled by criminals, even with glaring evidence.
“Contrary to the skewed narratives, which ignore the commonality of the pain and misery among residents of the state, no part of the state has been insulated from the security challenges. Victims of criminal acts like banditry and kidnapping are to be found across ethnic, religious, or political leanings and persuasion.”
He, however, added that, “in the areas that suffered communal violence in the period under review, peace processes are also underway, based on the acknowledgement of the involvement of all sides in the violent conflict, and a collective desire to adopt peaceful avenues for solving difference.
“Security affects people; it is a reality that is directly felt by victims and absorbed in the psyche by others. There is no need to hide figures.
“Publication of the security updates is, therefore, designed to checkmate the spread of rumours and falsehood among the citizenry and to arrest the potential consequences of such acts.”
Regardless, the the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) faulted the security report. CAN specifically accused the el-Rufai administration of playing games with security challenges in the state.
Chairman of Kaduna CAN, Revd. Joseph Hayab, in a report monitored in Abuja, at the weekend, said: “Nigerians now know who is lying to them about insecurity. It is truism that the casualty figures posted by the association, hitherto, were not exaggerated.
“The Kaduna State government has now publicly admitted that the number of people kidnapped and killed in the state is not an exaggeration. Despite its effort to twist the report, we are happy that citizens know those who are playing games and twisting facts about the high rate of kidnapping and killings going on in the state.”
According to him, the figure so far given in the report did not include those who handled their kidnap challenges privately, without involving security agencies or reporting to anyone.
“CAN will continue to work and pray for this evil to stop, but we need honest commitment from those in authority.”
A security expert, Thomas Abang, claimed that the state government reduced the number of casualties in order to avoid uproar from the masses and the international community.
“I do not trust the figures released by Kaduna State Government. The government is being careful in order not to anger the masses and attract sanctions from the international community.
“We all know that people are dying daily in Kaduna as a result of the activities of bandits. The government should tell the people the truth and seek help. Bandits are dealing with the masses,” he said.
To the national coordinator of Southern Kaduna Peace Practitioners, (SOKIPEP), Reverend Dauda Fadia, unless those reaping from the incessant criminality in the state are apprehended, the killings would continue.
It is cheery news that the el-Rufai administration has chosen, at this time, to come clean with statistics of killings, kidnappings and cattle rustling in the state, as he who comes to equity should do so with clean hands.
For equity’s sake, the state government said it has taken a novel approach in institutional responses to security matters with the purchase of hardware for its security agencies and provision of logistics by buying power bikes and vehicles as well as investment in technology and drones, among others.